Microsoft Office Access 2007 is just one part of Microsoft’s overall data management product strategy. Like all good relational databases, it allows you to link related information easily-for example, customer and order data that you enter. But Office Access 2007 also complements other database products because it has several powerful connectivity features. As its name implies, Access 2007 can work directly with data from other sources, including many popular personal computer database programs (such as dBASE and Paradox), with many SQL (Structured Query Language) databases on the desktop, on servers, on minicomputers, or on mainframes, and with data stored on Internet or intranet Web servers. Access 2007 also fully supports Microsoft’s ActiveX technology, so an Access application can be either a client or a server for all the other 2007 Microsoft Office system applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, FrontPage, Publisher, and OneNote.
Access provides a very sophisticated application development system for the Microsoft Windows operating system. This helps you build applications quickly, whatever the data source. In fact, you can build simple applications by defining forms and reports based on your data and linking them with a few macros or Microsoft Visual Basic statements; there’s no need to write complex code in the classic programming sense. Because Access uses Visual Basic, you can use the same set of skills with other applications in the Microsoft Office system or with Visual Basic.
For small businesses (and for consultants creating applications for small businesses), the Access desktop development features are all that’s required to store and manage the data used to run the business. Access coupled with Microsoft SQL Server-on the desktop or on a server-is an ideal way for many medium-size companies to build new applications for Windows quickly and inexpensively. To enhance workgroup productivity, you can use Access to create an application linked to data on a Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services server. For large corporations with a big investment in mainframe relational database applications as well as a proliferation of desktop applications that rely on personal computer databases, Access provides the tools to easily link mainframe and personal computer data in a single Windows-based application. Access 2007 includes features to allow you to export or import data in XML format (the lingua franca of data stored on the Web).